Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

It’s amazing the difference a day makes, yesterday was so sunny and amazing we were convinced spring had come, and the dreary winter had finally bowed out.
We ran around like kids, giddy with excitement, and exploring the city like tourist. I stayed out until dark, and walked home when the city lights lit up the night.

And yet this evening we battled angry winds and bitter rain; I couldn’t get home fast enough.

I wanted to make a big salad as soon I got through the door, a soul-soothing rainy day kind of salad.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives
Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

I cut and prepped vegetables, listening as the rain beat down the window.

Pearl or Israeli couscous (Ptitim) are much larger in size and firmer than North African couscous, it’s closer to rice and holds it’s texture when cooked.
I like to toast it for a few minutes in coconut oil until it smells wonderful, and then cook it just like rice, can be cooked in a rice cooker too.

The herby aroma of fresh thyme really compliments this simple salad.
The vegetables are usually whatever I have on hand, but I always add the sweet corn and olives because the flavours round out and brighten the salad.

I finish it off with a simple lemony dressing, a handful of dried tart cherries and nutty toasted coconut; I reckon a cheese lover wouldn’t mind some crumbled feta on top.

I like cheerful salads like these at this particular time of the year, it makes me hopeful for spring and sunny days, and it’s warm and comforting for cold rainy days.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives
Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives


Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives


  • 2 cups pearl / Israeli couscous
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 21/2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained of oil and chopped or sliced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 6 oz. can pitted green olives, drained
  • 1 cup sweet corn, cooked
  • A handful of dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon tomato powder (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful toasted large coconut flakes


  1. Toast couscous with coconut oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan/pot/deep skillet, stirring constantly until couscous is lightly golden, about 1 – 2 minutes
  2. Add stock or water, and salt and bring to a boil, cover, lower heat to simmer and cook until liquid is absorbed
  3. Remove from heat and let the covered pot rest a couple of minutes
  4. Fluff couscous with a fork and set aside to cool
  5. Mix the sundried tomatoes, onions, peppers, olives, sweet corn, and cherries together in a large salad bowl
  6. Add the couscous and sprinkle the chopped thyme over the couscous
  7. In a smaller bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, zest garlic, vinegar, honey and tomato powder, whisk to emulsify and add salt and pepper to taste
  8. Pour the dressing over the couscous and toss gently until well combined
  9. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if needed
  10. Serve with a handful of toasted coconut flakes, and garnish with more thyme
  11. Enjoy!


Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives

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  • Reply Bintu @ recipesfromapantry

    I want a bowl of that. Pinning this.

    21 March, 2013 at 2:53 am
    • Reply Elsa

      Thanks Bintu! it should be pinnable by end of day today 🙂

      21 March, 2013 at 11:24 am
  • Reply Kitchen Butterfly

    What I like about this salad is the variety of textures and sizes in the salad – I love the whole olives, and the sweetness of the cherries. It also looks amazing.

    1 April, 2013 at 11:43 am
    • Reply Elsa

      Thanks 🙂

      2 April, 2013 at 4:15 pm

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